For ages 12 and older.
Newton has often been called the father of physics because his fundamental
investigations into motion and gravity became the foundation of our knowledge
of the physical world. Today's physicists are much more likely to specialize in
a main area of interest. Match three of the present-day scientists below to
their descriptions, and then see if you can answer the question about each
Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Roscoe L. Koontz
Vera Cooper Rubin
Neil deGrasse Tyson
This astrophysicist was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England. He likes
to think big. He works as a cosmologist, a person who studies the origin,
present state, and future of the universe. One of his greatest contributions
has been in the understanding of black holes, which are objects that have such
a strong gravitational pull that not even light can escape from them. But even
famous scientists sometimes make mistakes. What famous error did this scientist
declare in 2004?
Scientist 2: ____________
Born in France and raised in Germany and California, this scientist already had
a successful career in journalism when she returned to school to earn a Ph.D.
in physics. She helped develop satellites such as the X-ray Multi-Mirror
Satellite observatory, known as the XMM-Newton. She has written more than 100
scientific papers. She is currently chancellor of the University of California
at Riverside. She was the youngest person—and first woman—to hold a
prestigious NASA position. What was the position?
Scientist 3: ____________
in The Bronx, New York, in 1959, this scientist's current work focuses
primarily on dwarf galaxies and the bulge at the center of the Milky Way. This
scientist's sixth-grade homeroom teacher wrote of him: "Less social involvement
and more academic diligence is in order." In 1996, he became the youngest-ever
director of the world-class Hayden Planetarium in New York City. What inspired
this scientist when he was a young boy that caused him to want to pursue a
space science career?
Career Ideas for Kids Who Like Science
by Diane Lindsey Reeves. Facts on File, 1998.
Describes 15 science careers and provides advice on choosing a career
145 Things to Be When You Grow Up
by Jodi Weiss and Russell Kahn. Random House, 2004.
Profiles 145 professions and offers information on high school activities,
college majors, and work experience that will help students achieve their
NASA Quest's Biography and Journal Locator
Choose job titles or occupations from a list and search for biographies and
journals of current NASA employees.
Vocational Information Center
Includes information such as daily activities, skill requirements, and
salary and training required for a variety of science and engineering jobs.